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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB Aaron Rodgers: Seeing a legendary quarterback in a new uniform might take some getting used to, but Rodgers is in an excellent spot to put up numbers with the Jets—as he’ll be playing in a familiar scheme under OC Nathaniel Hackett with a nice collection of pass-catchers led by NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson. The offensive line for New York might be shaky if Mekhi Becton doesn’t return to form or soon-to-be 38-year-old Duane Brown fails to stay healthy, so the outlook for Rodgers isn’t without concern. However, the four-time NFL MVP will have a chip on his shoulder, and people shouldn’t forget that he dealt with a thumb injury to his throwing hand in his final season with the Packers. Consider him a high-end QB2 behind some of the more mobile low-end QB1 targets.
RB Breece Hall: Hall began his career on a torrid pace with fantasy-point totals of 7.1, 12.5, 12.2, 14.8, 26.7, 19.1, and 13.2 before a torn ACL ended his rookie season—averaging 15.1 fantasy points per game, which ranked behind only Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Nick Chubb in 2022. Fortunately, the prognosis on the injury has been positive, and Hall should be ready to go for the opener as the feature back on an offense that will be boosted by the presence of Rodgers. Right now, we wouldn’t be overly concerned about a Dalvin Cook signing, and Hall can be a difference-maker as he rounds into form.
RB Michael Carter: Carter was a favorite of former offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, but he was basically leaped by Zonovan Knight down the stretch last year, and now he’ll face stiffer competition for change-of-pace opportunities behind Hall. On the bright side, Carter perhaps being trusted by Aaron Rodgers could get him on the field, so we’ll see how the backfield looks in August.
RB Israel Abanikanda: We are very high on the talent on Abanikanda, but the problem is that he’ll stuck behind Breece Hall on the depth chart for the foreseeable future. A best-case scenario for the fifth-round rookie (assuming health for everyone) would be turning into a top-tier backup that can rip off chunk gains to carry FLEX value as a standalone option; there is also a chance he barely sees the field in Year 1.
RB Zonovan Knight: Knight didn’t make his debut until after Thanksgiving as an undrafted rookie out of NC State, but he averaged 12.1 carries per game over the final seven weeks—including a stretch with 46 attempts for 230 yards (5.0 YPC) and one touchdown over his first three outings. The efficiency dropping after that probably resulted in New York’s desire to find more upside on the depth chart, so Knight will be battling for touches in training camp.
WR Garrett Wilson: The Jets’ acquisition of Aaron Rodgers will significantly raise the floor and ceiling for Wilson this season, and that includes increased touchdown potential after he was held out of the end zone in all but two appearances as a rookie (to reach four scores, he had two multi-touchdown games). The number of targets he is given on an offense with plenty of weapons will determine if Wilson can be a top-five option or will settle in as more of a low-end WR1, but we are optimistic and would just hope the Hard Knocks boost doesn’t overprice him for those thinking about drafting Wilson early.
WR Allen Lazard: Lazard has the benefit of built-in chemistry with Aaron Rodgers—who reportedly had his former Packer teammate on a “wish list” (denied by both the Jets and Rodgers himself)—and that includes in scoring territory with 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons. The negative is all the weapons for New York with Corey Davis still on the roster and Mecole Hardman also signed in the spring, which could make Lazard more likely to regress than take another statistical step.
WR Mecole Hardman: The thought when Hardman was original drafted by the Chiefs in 2019 was that he’d provide insurance for Tyreek Hill, so it’s unfortunate that the speedster went down with an abdominal injury just when he started to breakout last year—scoring five touchdowns in a three-game stretch prior to being placed on injured reserve. The Jets have talked about expanding Hardman’s route tree after signing him to a one-year contract, but we would expect him to be used similarly to how he was for most of his Kansas City tenure to limit his overall ceiling if he doesn’t break a big play or find the end zone.
WR Corey Davis: Maybe they are posturing and holding out hope for a summer trade, but Jets general manager Joe Douglas claims the team has no intention of moving Davis. If that’s the case, he’ll be locked in as the third/fourth wideout with inconsistent standalone appeal as Randall Cobb—in addition to Hardman—also sees time behind Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. The former fifth-overall pick has missed time in all but one season since being drafted in 2017, and he’s seen season target totals of 59 and 64 since signing with New York.
WR Randall Cobb: Cobb is expected to be a better real-life addition than fantasy option as a trusted option for Aaron Rodgers, but the path towards redraft relevancy is very possible if Mecole Hardman were to go down and Corey Davis eventually gets traded. As things currently stand, though, Cobb will be the fifth or sixth wideout for the Jets.
WR Denzel Mims: Based on talent, we wouldn’t give up on Mims, and New York clearly sees something in the 25-year-old by holding him on the roster for the past two seasons when it seemed like he would be traded or released. The previous scheme didn’t play to the strengths of the former second-round pick, but Aaron Rodgers’ ability to throw the back shoulder ball could cause something to click based on the talent Mims showed at Baylor.
TE Tyler Conklin: Coming off back-to-back seasons with 87 targets (the first being with Minnesota), Conklin is the top pass-catching tight end for the Jets—but how big will his role be in the new offense? Historically, the Packers haven’t had a ton of production from tight ends with Rodgers under center, so in a similar offensive system orchestrated by Nathaniel Hackett, there might not be a priority placed on Conklin with Garrett Wilson and the wideouts as the focus. There might be more appealing TE2 targets.
TE C.J. Uzomah: Uzomah leaving Cincinnati caused his production to get cut in half with New York (21/232/2 line in 2022), and as is the case with most options at tight end that aren’t clear starters, it’ll likely take a string of touchdowns for him to carry fantasy relevancy.
TEs Jeremy Ruckert and Zack Kuntz: The outlooks for Conklin and Uzomah are also complicated by the younger options on the roster, with Ruckert being a third-round pick last year and Kuntz going in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ruckert caught one pass as a rookie but will be worth monitoring in the preseason, while Kuntz is more of a pure developmental option.
Best IDP value: DE Bryce Huff
The Jets have a lot of options at defensive end, but Huff is one of our top breakout candidates of 2023 as a potential terror on the edge. Last year, he had 3.5 sacks and ten quarterback hits on just 191 snaps, and Huff exploding for double-digit sacks would not be a surprise after the Jets wisely kept him on a second-round tender in the offseason.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
Allen Lazard had never broken 60 targets while playing with Davante Adams in Green Bay before a career-high 100 targets in 2022; Garrett Wilson saw 147 targets last season for the Jets.